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High-Speed Magnets: Exploring Faraday's Law and Lenz's Law

Summary

Areas of Science
Difficulty
 
Time Required
Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites
This project requires a high-school level understanding of electromagnetism, or a willingness to learn about it.
Material Availability
A kit containing the materials for this project is available from our partner Home Science Tools.
Cost
Average ($40 - $80)
Safety
Neodymium magnets must be handled carefully. Please see the detailed warnings in the Procedure.
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

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Abstract

Safety Notes about Neodymium Magnets:

Neodymium magnets are very strong. Adult supervision is recommended when using them. Do not let the magnets slam together. They may pinch your fingers or crack. Keep them away from small children, pets, credit cards, and pacemakers.

In the Science Buddies project Human-Powered Energy, you can learn about the basics of magnetic induction, or how moving magnets can be used to generate an electric current. The detailed physics of how a changing magnetic field can induce an electric current are described by Faraday's law and Lenz's law (see the Bibliography for more information about these two laws). For a more advanced version of the Human-Powered Energy project idea, try setting up an experiment to prove or demonstrate these two laws, using the Shaking Up Some Energy Kit from our partner Home Science Tools. Since this is an abbreviated project idea, Science Buddies will not give you an exact procedure to follow. Instead, you will need to come up with your own hypothesis and procedure to test it. The suggestions below can help you get started.
Alligator clips connect two red LEDs in a breadboard to a spool of copper wire wrapped around a clear tube
Figure 1. This experimental setup has two LEDs connected with opposite polarity, and a generator with a clear tube so you can see the magnets moving inside.

Bibliography

To learn more about magnetic induction, Faraday's law, and Lenz's law, see the following website, or consult your high school physics textbook:

  • Nave, C. (n.d.). Faraday's Law. Hyperphysics. Retrieved December 4, 2014.

Materials and Equipment Buy Kit

Recommended Project Supplies

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In addition to the kit from our partner Home Science Tools, you will need some other materials to complete this project. Here are some suggestions based on Figure 1 from the Summary:

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Contact Us

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In your email, please follow these instructions:
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  2. Please describe how you need help as thoroughly as possible:

    Examples

    Good Question I'm trying to do Experimental Procedure step #5, "Scrape the insulation from the wire. . ." How do I know when I've scraped enough?
    Good Question I'm at Experimental Procedure step #7, "Move the magnet back and forth . . ." and the LED is not lighting up.
    Bad Question I don't understand the instructions. Help!
    Good Question I am purchasing my materials. Can I substitute a 1N34 diode for the 1N25 diode called for in the material list?
    Bad Question Can I use a different part?

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Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Finio, Ben. "High-Speed Magnets: Exploring Faraday's Law and Lenz's Law." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Phys_p097/physics/high-speed-magnets-faradays-law-lenzs-law. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

APA Style

Finio, B. (2020, November 20). High-Speed Magnets: Exploring Faraday's Law and Lenz's Law. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Phys_p097/physics/high-speed-magnets-faradays-law-lenzs-law


Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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